Moving from Subsistence Farming to Commercial Farming

Picture Credits: www.morguefile.com

Picture Credits: www.morguefile.com

Normally when I’m at home, in South Coast of KZN my granny has made it a tradition to give me crops or harvest from her garden.  This goes as far as giving me the entire fowl that she is breeding at home. I like that because it makes her feel content that her children are enjoying her hard work from the garden. For me because it’s something that I grew up enjoying for many years at home, I sometimes encourage her to sell her harvest to get money. The problem I always encounter when I raise that suggestion to her is that, she is not farming or growing her crops with an intention of selling them, it’s for us to eat only. Sometimes mealies become dry fast while we are still enjoying it. On yearly basis we always have oversupply of “amadumbe”. It is not in her to sell all of these things, because she is not regarding herself as a commercial farmer. Recently I came back from home with 10 KG of Sugar Beans, Peanuts, Amadumbe, Butternut, Herbs and whole chicken. All this from her garden, and when I look the value of these items it can be about R1000.00.
She is not alone in this, each and every neighbor has his or her own garden growing the same thing and they keep it to themselves. Although they have their own gardens, there is still an unused piece of land that has a potential of becoming a framing land. Looking at this and taking into account that as a country at times we even struggle to produce enough mealies for our nation I always see a lost opportunity to make profit and to feed the nation.
I believe there should be a transition from people like my granny to move from subsistence farming into commercial farming at a small scale.  I’m not faultless as well in all of this, because in fact she should have seen me selling some of her crops and give back the money for her to see how profitable her small land can be.
Things like honey, we import large quantity of it from other countries, whereas we have the capacity to produce our own in the country. Maybe it’s about time to get dirty and work on the soil or be even stunk by those bees.
By: Musa Gumede

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